Billyard Insurance Blog

What is Critical Illness Insurance?

What is Critical Illness Insurance & Why Do I Need It?

Do you need critical illness insurance? Canadians have one of the longest life expectancies in the world. This is thanks to medical advances which have significantly improved the survival rates of people who suffer critical illnesses in their lifetime. These critical illnesses include cancer, stroke and heart disease. However, the scary reality is that the development of critical illness is a real concern among Canadians.

9 out of 10 Canadians have at least one risk factor for coronary heart disease or stroke. There are already over 400,000 people who have suffered the effects of a stroke and this number is expected to increase significantly. Cancer is also a critical illness with very high prevalence. In fact, 1 in 2 Canadians will be diagnosed with Cancer in their lifetime.

Cancer in Canada - Critical Illness Insurance - Billyard Insurance Group

Most people are optimistic in that they don’t think critical illness will ever personally affect them. The statistics suggest otherwise, and critical illness can happen at any time. Recovery from a critical illness often comes with significant financial costs. In Ontario, employment insurance only covers you for 15 weeks which leaves a gap of about 23 weeks for an average cancer treatment plan. 44% of cancer patients cope with the financial hardship by using their savings and investments. Furthermore, almost a quarter of cancer patients return to work before they are ready. This means that the financial obligations are impacting your recovery time.

Critical illness should not cause you to have to dive in to your hard-earned savings and investments to meet your financial obligations. More importantly, your finances should not be the reason that you do not get the recovery time you need.  The solution? Critical illness insurance can safeguard your family and protect your finances in the unfortunate event of a critical illness diagnosis.

How Does Critical Illness Insurance Help?

Critical illness insurance offers the financial support to cover the costs that are associated with a critical illness. If you become ill with an illness covered by your policy and you’ll be eligible to receive a lump-sum cash payment after the waiting period defined in your policy. You are free to decide how to spend the money, whether this be for treatment costs or to cover financial obligations.

When looking at critical illness insurance, it is important that you check your policy to make sure it covers what you need. Typically, it covers the four most common life-threatening conditions: cancer, heart attack, stroke and coronary artery bypass. Each policy differs in what other type of illnesses are covered whether by full or partial payout. We recommend you seek advice on what type of coverage you require and for which illnesses you want to be covered. Our team at Billyard Insurance Group can help with this.

Why Do I Need Critical Illness Insurance? Billyard Insurance Group

Critical illness insurance can help you:

  • Reduce debt and other financial concerns while you cope with your illness
  • Replace any reduced or lost income for you and your spouse (if they take time off to be your caregiver or come to treatments with you).
  • Bring in caregivers to help at home
  • Choose new medical treatments and medications not covered by private or government health insurance plans
  • Shield your financial plan including savings & investments
  • Protect children or grandchildren with their own insurance coverage that they can have for life

How much does Critical Illness Insurance Cost?

The cost of critical illness insurance varied based on your individual circumstances and the type of plan you choose. When determining your premium your insurance will look at individual factors such as gender, age, smoking status and medical history. Then the coverage you choose, and the type of plan will determine how much your insurance will cost.

Example Cost for Critical Illness Insurance? Billyard Insurance Group

For example, Marcus is a healthy 40-year-old non-smoker. He has two children under the age of 5 and has a mortgage for his home. Looking at his options, he can choose to purchase a critical illness policy that goes up to the age 75 or can also purchase a plan to supplement his Term Life Insurance policy. He also has the options of two levels of coverage. The simple plan covers heart attacks, stroke and cancer or higher coverage which covers approximately 25 illnesses depending on the insurance company.

Marcus is interested in combining Life insurance and Critical illness. He is looking for a 20-year term to cover the time that he has a mortgage and dependents. Typically, critical illness insurance should cover 1-2 years of salary. For the higher coverage (25 illnesses), Marcus would be looking at either $36 per month for $50,000 coverage or $60 per month for $100,000 coverage.

Finding out you have a critical illness is a life changing moment. Take away the stress of financial burdens by ensuring you are protected by insurance. Billyard Insurance Group can provide you with no cost advice and will help you shop for your critical illness insurance. Click here to contact an advisor today.

Determine the Best Term Life Insurance for You

Unlike health insurance, which pays out when you get sick, life insurance pays a tax-free cash benefit to your beneficiaries when you die. In this article we will be looking at term life insurance which provides protection over a pre-defined period. When comparing whole or term life insurance, cost is a huge factor. Term Life Insurance is a relatively lower cost form of life insurance that naturally gets more expensive as you get older. This is because you become higher risk to insure. Term Life Insurance does not accumulate cash value but is a much lower cost than whole life insurance. This can be around 10 x lower!

Unlike whole life insurance, term life insurance  is limited to a certain number of years. This allows you to insure a certain period of your life that may be more imperative to have additional protection. Typically, you would choose to purchase this temporary insurance to protect your dependents when you may have significant financial obligations such as a mortgage. This protection would prevent your family from experiencing real financial hardship if you died.

Deciding Between 10-Year or 20-Year Term Life Insurance

As the name suggests, 10-Year or 20-Year Term Life Insurance lasts for a limited number of years. 10 Year Term Life Insurance has a lower premium so is often more affordable. This is the ideal choice if your need is unlikely to extend beyond the 10-year term. On the other hand, choosing 20-year term life insurance tends to be more expensive. But, you are guaranteed coverage for 20 years as long as you pay the premium. This is often enough to cover mortgage payments, raise children and develop a stronger financial foundation.

Factors to Consider When Choosing 10 Year Term Life Insurance

Some people will opt for the 10-year term life insurance as they want the lower premium. However, once the term is over, you will have to renew if you you still have a requirement for coverage. Renewal will often result in an increase in premium. This can potentially be more than what you would have paid for the 20-year term life insurance. There is also the risk that they may no longer be eligible for insurance if there have been significant changes in health circumstances.

Strategies to Optimize a 10 Year Term Insurance Plan

If 10 Year Term Insurance is your choice based on affordability, there are several options to optimize your insurance plan.

Firstly, by adding a renewable term life insurance policy this gives you the ability to renew your 10-year term policy without medical qualification. So, if there are any unexpected changes in your health over the initial 10 years, this won’t affect your premium. However, it should be noted that this may increase your premium for the initial 10-year term. Yet, they are likely to still be lower than the 20-year term insurance.

Another option is to renew prior to the expiration of the original policy. The earlier you renew, the more likely to get a better premium than you would at the end. This is largely due to age risk factors. This is a great option if you currently cannot afford the 20-year term premiums initially but perhaps have this option a few years into your 10-year term.

Lastly, add a convertible term life insurance policy prior to the expiry of your term life insurance. This allows you to convert to whole life insurance. Moreover, this waives the medical qualification requirement. This mitigates the risk that you may no longer be eligible for insurance if there have been significant changes in health circumstances. This may increase your premiums.

10 Year or 20 Year Term Life Insurance - Billyard Insurance Group - Example

Determine the Best Term Life Insurance for You

When it comes to term life insurance, there is no one size fits all. Firstly, establish what you would need to ensure financial stability for your dependents if you were gone. How many dependents do you have and how long would you need to support them? Do you have other long term financial obligations such as a mortgage? This could be challenging for your dependents to support after your death.

Secondly, determine your age and how long you best estimate having these obligations. If your dependents are nearing the age of financial independence and your mortgage is nearing the end of its term, a 10-year term life insurance plan may be best for you.

Lastly, the cost of term life insurance may impact your decision. If you are unable to pay the higher premium of the longer term, the 10-year term insurance plan may be better for you. However, be sure to factor in a long term perspective when considering the length of term.

Life Insurance is a big decision, with lots of factors to consider. Finding solutions to meet your individual requirements is essential to ensure you have the coverage you need. We strongly advise you to make well-informed decisions by seeking advice. Billyard Insurance Group can provide you with no cost advice and will help you shop for your life insurance solution. Click here to contact an advisor today.

Life Insurance vs. Mortgage Insurance: What’s best for you?

For most Canadians, the purchase of a home is the largest investment they will make in their lifetime. During a time you are already reeling with unexpected fees and paperwork from your mortgage. You will most likely be offered “mortgage insurance”. Your lender will likely strongly recommend this as it will protect that large investment and could keep your family off the street. However, what a lot of new homeowners don’t know is that there are options, including life insurance that may be more beneficial for you. Let’s take a look at some of the differences between Life Insurance vs. Mortgage Insurance.

Life Insurance vs. Mortgage Insurance: Moving House or Changing Mortgage

If you decide to move house or change your mortgage, what happens to your insurance?  When you have mortgage insurance, you will lose your previous mortgage insurance and will have to reapply. If you are a frequent mover this is a significant inconvenience and you risk higher costs. Plus, if your health situation has changed, you may be ineligible for mortgage insurance.

On the other hand, with life insurance you can move as often as you like without losing your policy and retain the option to switch banks. As long as you regularly pay your premiums, your original insurance will remain the same. For the most part,  even changes in your health will not affect your eligibility other than the typical limitations in the first two years of your policy.

Life Insurance vs. Mortgage Insurance: Handling Claims

When looking at mortgage insurance, you have a higher risk of your beneficiaries losing the insured home. This is because the banks do not qualify or underwrite your insurance when you start paying premiums. Instead, they only validate your coverage after death. This puts you at risk of them finding loopholes in the contract which nullify your contract. Leaving your beneficiaries with the premiums refunded only.

On the other hand, individual life insurance validates your coverage when your policy is delivered. If it has been determined that you require health checks, they are done prior to the payment of your premiums. Furthermore, after the first two years of coverage the insurance company cannot challenge your beneficiaries’ claim on health-related grounds.

Life Insurance vs. Mortgage Insurance: Bonus for Great Health

If you are in great health you may be wondering if you can get a better rate. Preferred rates are not typically offered if you have mortgage insurance . On the other hand, life insurance companies offer preferred rates to those who have deemed to be of above average health!

Life Insurance vs. Mortgage Insurance: Conversion to Permanent Insurance

For mortgage insurance policies, bank-issued mortgage insurance policies have no conversion rights. On the other hand, the majority of life insurance policies allow you to convert your term life insurance plan  to permanent life insurance.

Life Insurance vs. Mortgage Insurance: When Your Mortgage Ends

What happens after your mortgage is paid off? Once your mortgage is paid off, mortgage insurance does not continue . On the other hand, even if your entire mortgage is paid off, your life insurance coverage continues until the end of your contract .

Life Insurance vs. Mortgage Insurance:  Custom Plans

With mortgage insurance, you cannot integrate other types of coverage  with your policy. These are typically very inflexible mortgage products. Conversely, with life insurance a good broker will help you to tailor a plan that will suit your situation. This can include disability or critical illness coverage.

Which Type of Insurance is Best for Me?

Prior to making your decision, here are some questions you should ask yourself:

  • Do you want to own your policy?
  • Would you want the option to choose the beneficiary?
  • Do you want to have options on the utilization of the money in the future?
  • Do you want to guarantee that your beneficiaries will receive the  insurance pay-out? Read this story of one unfortunate family here.

In almost every case, the answer is very clear. Life insurance offers lower costs, ownership of policy, upfront underwriting, and more options in the future. Which oftentimes is far more beneficial for you and your family. Contact us now to speak with a broker. One of our team members will be happy to answer any questions you may have and discuss your options.

Top 3 Ways for A Safe Road Trip This Summer

Now that the sun is shining and the summer days are ahead, planning that road trip with a couple friends is always exhilarating. With all the excitement, safety should always be number one on your list of things to inquire about when you are about to get behind the wheel. There are too many drivers who get caught up in the fun of the road trip and drive above the speed limit or drive while distracted or impaired.

These various types of unsafe driving behaviours are the most common reasons for accidents. To be prepared for any road trip there are 3 main things you can do to stay out of harm’s way:

  1. Do Not Speed

According to the Canada Safety Council, 30 % of fatal car accidents are from speeding. Speeding accidents do not always happen when driving over the speed limit, depending on the road conditions, you could be below the speed limit and still drive too fast. For example, in a thunderstorm, it may not be safe to continue the posted speed limit when your visibility is low. The most important thing to remember is to drive at a safe speed limit on your road trip.

  1. Pay Attention

With how our technology is evolving, people are on their cell phones more common than you think. We also need to be aware that distracted driving can also be from drivers who put on makeup, changing the radio station, picking up something that was dropped onto the floor or having a lively discussion with other people in the vehicle. This can increase your risk of getting into an accident on your road trip. Always be aware of how distracted drivers are all around and we may not be able to make other drivers pay attention, but you can eliminate some of those distractions in your own vehicle.

  1. Stay Sober

We all know that driving when intoxicated or high is very unsafe. Impaired driving is not always associated with substance abuse it could also be from driving while you are overtired or sleepy. No matter how excited you are to take a road trip, never drive while you are over exhausted. This can be very dangerous. It only takes a few seconds to doze off in your car and lose control. Getting to your destination faster than planned is not worth risking a car accident. This also applies to over -the- counter prescriptions and medications that cause drowsiness or impact your alertness. Always let someone else do the driving if you are not feeling well or wait until you are sober to operate a vehicle.

At the Billyard Insurance Group we offer discounts for safe driving. Your broker can go over the policy details and discuss the possible discounts as a reward for accident- free driving. Safe travels!

Boat Insurance 101

Summer is almost here! Jumping in the boat and going for a nice cruse is one of the most popular leisure activities for the summer weather. Millions of Canadians take advantage of their local lakes, rivers and reservoirs. Taking precautions while you’re out on the water is highly recommended, we tend to protect our self with sunscreen, life jackets and protective gear. However, if you do not have boat insurance you might not be protecting your boat to the full extent.

Like many types of insurance, such as homeowner’s, auto, etc., your boat can be affected by various additional factors you may not be aware of. The size of the boat, the power of the motor, and the speed can determine the value and be a significant factor to your Billyard Insurance policy. Even the location of where it’s stored can have an impact on your costs.

There are 3 different ways to Insure your boat:

  1. Small boats such as kayaks, small fishing boats or canoes would be covered under your Billyard home insurance.
  2. Larger more expensive craft boats such as cabin cruisers, bowriders or pontoon boats can be insured under your Billyard home insurance as scheduled property. A separate rate will be charged and the boat will have to be at full value when insured.
  3. For the serious boaters like marine craft sailboats, yachts, speed boats or boats that travel into coastal waters should be covered under their own insurance policy.

So, what about motorized watercraft??

For motorized boats and personal watercraft such as jet-skis for instance, it is ideal to add it to your Billyard Insurance policy. Most insurance policies that are available can cover not just the boat, but also the equipment and systems associated with it. For example, the GPS system or trailer.

Many people believe that boat insurance is only for larger watercraft, but the fact is that the smaller boats such as paddleboats, canoes and kayaks, can be included in your homeowner’s insurance. This can often be free of charge to you if it is not motorized.

When you insure your boat or watercraft with your Billyard Insurance policy you will have protection in the case of an emergency such as an injury or accident.

Boat insurance is one of the most important investments you can make to protect your assets and ensure you have a worry-free summer of fun on the water. Talk to your Billyard Insurance broker to obtain a free no obligation quote.

Insurance Claim? BIG Insurance Is Here To Help

When you are out shopping or heading to the store the last thing you would expect is an accident. Whether you are the offending driver, victim, or a witness to a parking lot accident, there are some steps you can take to be proactive and responsible:

As the Victim: 

  1. Contact your Billyard Insurance broker. Let the insurance broker know what happened as soon as possible. Your insurance broker will help you determine your next steps and guide you through the process. Billyard Insurance Group can also provide you tools to help make it quick and efficient for you!
  2. Take pictures. Take pictures of the damage with your phone or a camera.
  3. Document everything! For insurance reasonsIf the other driver is around, write down his or her name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, and insurance company. You should get as much information as possible.
  4. Get as much proof as possible. Ask others in the parking lot if they witnessed anything. You can also head back to the store/building and find out if they have any security footage you can check out.

As the offending driver:

  1. Take responsibility for your actions. Do not just drive off- If another driver or surveillance camera caught you in the act, you could be charged with a hit-and-run.
  2. Call the police. When it comes to extensive damage, you may want to involve the police. They will document the accident and can help you locate the car’s owner.
  3. Locate the other party involved. Go inside the store, or to the customer service desk and try and locate the other car owner. Describe the car to the employee and ask the individual to announce it over the intercom.
  4. Leave a note. If you are unable to find the other driver, write down your basic information such as your name, phone number, and a brief explanation of the accident. Place the note in a secure spot on the car and remember to write down the license plate number and take a photo of the damage.

As the witness:

  1. Offer to help. If the offending driver is gone, offer to help the other driver document the damage.
  2. Provide your information. If his or her insurance broker or a police officer needs any additional information, providing your information can help the situation if they need to get further details.


The Billyard Insurance Group works with you to provide you with the information that is needed to protect you in the event of this happening.  You can also contact your broker and discuss the details on what to do. Report all the information by taking notes and keeping the accurate information of the other parties involved. To help you record the information you need, Billyard Insurance Group has designed a detailed accident report card for you to print and keep in your glovebox.  Click the accident report card below!

Accident Report Card

G-Mc’s Fitness Homies Golf Tourney


Year after year, “G-Mc’s Fitness Homies with Extra Chromies” is a sellout success story. On Saturday May 12th at the Peninsula Lakes Golf Course, 216 golfers came out to support the non- profit organization and raise awareness for children and adults living with Down syndrome. The tournament sold out in just three weeks, almost doubling the turnout of last year’s event. The event held 18 holes of golf, welcome gift bags and a chance to win the Longest Drive Contest. The fundraiser also had a silent auction, 50/50 draw and raffle tables.

G-Mc’s Fitness Homies with Extra Chromies, was created by Kathy and Ron McPherson who asked Blair Stayzer, a personal trainer to train their son Gregory. At the time Stayzer never worked with a client living with Down syndrome, but the positive outgoing energy that Gregory McPherson had become a part of Stayzer’s life quickly.

This provided motivation to create the non-profit organization & golf tournament known as G-Mc’s Fitness Homies with Extra Chromies to raise awareness and create activities in the community for Down syndrome.

The Billyard Insurance Group is proud to be the presenting sponsor for the G-Mc’s Fitness Homies with Extra Chromies Golf Tournament.  We are honoured to play a small part with a passionate group of people dedicated to providing support and services to help enrich the lives of children and adults living with Down syndrome. When the Saturday golf tournament came to an end, Billyard Insurance Group was overjoyed with the momentum that was gained, and has become dedicated yearly to help sponsor an event to remember for years to come


Home Insurance – The Ultimate Spring Cleaning Checklist

Home Insurance: The Ultimate Spring Cleaning Checklist

So you’ve made the right move, you got an insurance quote and valuable advice from a broker at the Billyard Insurance Group.  Now you have top quality home insurance coverage for your most valuable asset.  However protecting you home doesn’t stop there, proper seasonal home maintenance can go a long way to ensuring you never have to file an insurance claim and keep your insurance rates as low as possible.   We all hate to do it, but we love the results of giving our home a good spring cleaning. That’s why for this article we checked in with some of the leading home experts to see what tasks they recommend you add to your ultimate spring cleaning checklist.

While you may be tempted to tackle all of these spring cleaning to-dos in one day, the experts recommend setting aside an entire weekend to get it done right. Here’s the breakdown:

Clean Walls & Ceilings
You’ll need your vacuum, plus all the attachments and accessories, for this task. It’s one of the quickest and cleanest ways to zap dust from air vents, crown molding, baseboards, corners, and ceiling fans. Vacuum from the top of the room down, taking care to vacuum any dust that settles on the floor. Once you’ve “dusted” everything with your vacuum, wipe down the surface of the walls. Use a solvent-free degreaser for surfaces with stubborn grime buildup.

Reseal Tile Grout Lines
With daily foot traffic, it’s common for the grout between your floor tiles to get stained over time. To help keep it clean, apply a penetrating grout sealer with a small foam brush.

Shampoo Rugs & Carpets
Carpets and rugs take a beating during the winter when people are more likely to track in snow, dirt and other outdoor elements. That’s why it’s essential to give your carpets a good shampooing in the spring. Hint: If you would rather not take on this task, you can usually find a good deal on professional carpet cleaning during this time of the year.

Dust Books and Shelves
Remove all the items on your bookshelves and wipe them down with a dust cloth. Then use a feather duster to remove any dust that has accumulated on your books.

Vacuum Upholstered Furniture
Put your vacuum’s upholstery brush to good use and carefully vacuum all your furniture cushions. If you notice any stains, this is the perfect time to use a stain removal spray to get them out. Hint: Be sure to check the care label on your furniture before using any type of cleaner, and always do a spot test in a hidden area of the fabric.

Perform a Fire Safety Check
Change the batteries in your smoke detectors and clear away any dust or grime that may have accumulated on them. Also, check to make sure your fire extinguisher is in good working order. If you don’t have an escape plan in the event of a fire, this is the perfect time to create one and make sure that everyone in the house knows the fastest way to get to safety.

Wash Window Screens

Fill a bucket with warm water and a mild dishwashing liquid. Use a scrubbing brush to clean all your window screens. Rinse thoroughly and let air dry.

Clean Window Treatments
Wipe down your blinds with warm water mixed with a mild dishwashing liquid. If you have machine-washable curtains or drapes, take them down and throw them in the washing machine.

As you’re tackling the items on your spring cleaning checklist, it’s also a good idea to take some time to review your home inventory list to make sure it’s up to date with any new major purchases like furniture, electronics, art, jewelry or other valuables. And, if you have questions about whether any new purchases are covered by your current homeowner’s insurance policy, don’t hesitate to call your trusted BIG Insurance – (Billyard Insurance Group) broker today at 1.855.843.1570.

If you’re not yet a Billyard Insurance Group client, it’s time for your to Think BIG about your Insurance.  Start your on-line Home Insurance Quote or Auto Insurance Quote today!

BIG Insurance is Proud to Support the Welland Hope Centre

The Billyard Insurance Group, in partnership with Unica Insurance, is proud to support the Welland Hope Centre with a donation of one thousand dollars to support the Hope Centre and it’s clients in our community.  Pictured above from left Christina Lajeunesse – Hope Centre Fund Developer & Community Coordinator;  Stephen Billyard – Billyard Insurance Group President; Mark Carl – Hope Centre Executive Director.

The Hope Centre has been serving the Welland community since 1974.  Its mission is to assist the most vulnerable citizens in Welland and surrounding are in their time of need by providing food and housing stability, and to empower change in their lives by increasing their future resilience to poverty and increasing their capacity to be self-sustaining through counseling and training.

If you would like to support the Hope Centre you can donate on-line via paypal or credit card here:

Introducing Director Of Commercial Insurance – Mark Whiteley

We are proud to announce the newest member of our Leadership team at Billyard Insurance Group : Mark Whiteley – Director of Commercial Insurance. Joining BIG from a successful career as Senior Commercial Underwriter with our valued partner Intact Insurance, Mark brings leadership and expertise to help serve all our commercial business insurance clients… BIG and Small.

Mark will operate primarily out of BIG head office in Welland, Ontario but will service and support brokers and clients in our offices all across Ontario, currently including BIG Guelph, BIG KW, BIG Brantford, BIG Hamilton, BIG Mississauga West, BIG Mississauga East, BIG Erin Mills, BIG Oakville, BIG Etobicoke, BIG Welland, BIG Brampton.

Please feel free to reach out to Mark Whiteley at our head office for all your Commercial Insurance needs.  (905) 346-2190 x 1012   or

Billyard Insurance Group Inc. – Think BIG

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